I haven't written in a while, so...I decided to take a stab at it. You'll recognise some random Before the Dawn characters and the like if you've kept up with tanelorn_bound's posts, which I REALLY hope you have because she's incredible. ^_^
I found my mind wandering, which is a common occurrence, as certain objects or images catch my attention and plunge me headlong into my past, conjuring the visages of people who I long never to forget to my mind’s eye. To forget them would be more of a sin than I would ever be willing or able to commit and please understand that I have killed in the past under strenuous circumstances, but that has been centuries hence; my conscience has settled from the utter wreck it once was.
This city is a city of ages, from the river Thames to the ruins of Westminster Cathedral. This place, as different as it has become, remains one of my old favorites and upon every one of my returns, I feel a sort of homecoming in my heart rivaled only by the times I return to that glorious west coast of Ireland, to the region that is now named Galway. A wall once surrounded this city, and that in itself was difficult enough to get through without being spotted, but now the entirety of its borders is encompassed in a dome that keeps the rest of the world out, foul as it’s become over these horrendous years of human misuse and neglect. Artificial lights grace this place with their full-spectrum glow now rather than the sun itself, set up in the illusion of a sky that soars above even the tallest building. This necessary oddity of human engineering doesn’t bother me in the least as it allows me the freedom of emerging in broad “daylight” to go about my business rather than keeping to the cloak of darkness.
Even the nights three hundred years ago weren’t as dark as they were then.
As I came upon the Tower of London I stopped and looked at it, or rather what was left of it, reminiscing about how it appeared when it was quite new, with the guards standing watch even in the hours of darkness, although oftentimes their watch consisted of falling asleep standing up. This was admittedly a source of sport for me, not to mention easy nourishment. I would go some distance away after making my rounds just to watch them stumble about in a lightheaded daze, rubbing their necks as they changed shifts. Yes, even I am subject to my little pranks; I know a few people would certainly be surprised.
I thought about approaching the magnificent ruins because I have a friend (more like a family member, really), who makes his home there, but I ultimately decided I wasn’t in the mood for his overbearing ego and continued on along the river when I caught sight of a young boy playing with his siblings along the banks.
Instantly, I found myself transported centuries, perhaps a millennia, back to the English countryside of an indeterminable year—a calendar was something I had difficulty keeping a note of—where I had come across a young boy, most likely a shepherd, cavorting with his dog by a stream in the light of a small campfire. The dog immediately took notice of my approach, perking her ears and taking a few steps in my direction, her plumed tail giving a cautious wag.
“What is it, Flen?” he inquired of her, taking up his shepherd’s crook. “I haven’t heard any wolves or anything…”
“Oh, no worries,” I called out laughingly. “I’m certainly no wolf.” I made my way into the firelight, squinting at its brightness while holding my hands up in a non-threatening manner. Flen came to greet me and sniffed about my ankles.
The boy stared at me. “And who are you, then? You look an odd one.”
“I am called Lazarus,” I said plainly.
“And call you from? I’ve never seen anyone like you…” he made gestures toward the right side of his head as if he were stroking a nonexistent lock of hair.
I immediately knew what he was referring to. “I call from Ireland, actually…and this?” I took up a part of the single black streak of hair in the fingers of my right hand, “is merely a sort of decoration.”
The boy didn’t question it and I was thankful, needless to say. He regarded me a moment longer before he began to speak again, “They call me Darby and this is Flen,” he indicated his dog with a loving pat on the head. “Are you a monk or some odd? You don’t have the tonsure…” He must have caught sight of my simple brown robes.
“I was to become one, yes…but plans change in life and now I am here as a wanderer of sorts, I suppose.”
He gave an inclination of his head and, once again, didn’t pry any deeper. He must have either been used to vague answers or so grateful for my company that he didn’t want to scare me away by asking too much about my personal business.
Suddenly a great curiosity spread across his face, “Have you been to any burghs?” His words were quick and excited.
“Yes, actually. Several here and about, along with cities. I’ve been to London, you know.”
His eyes grew as wide like twin full moons. “Did you see the king there? I hear he’s hardly more than a babe…”
“Woe to that land that’s governed by a child,” I sighed.
I watched as his eyebrows knit into a perplexed expression as he thought those words over. I could see the veins in his forehead, but ignored them. “What do you mean by that…?” he asked finally.
“Such a land is time and time again subject to difficult times until the king-child comes of age.”
There was another pause before his voiced pierced the night’s silence again, “But wouldn’t God watch the country and keep it in peace if the king will be a good one?”
I swallowed, forcing myself to face one of the realities I had found the hard way, “God will do what He can, but we can’t rely on Him for everything… He has given us that much free will. God won’t stop the barons for fighting over who gets to fill in the present gap of power, but He may guide the struggle to the outcome He wants to achieve. He has all the time in the world and all the power to create more.”
He lowered his eyes to the ground, obviously understanding at least something of what I was saying. “Tell that to the people at the parish.”
I chuckled despite myself. “You have no idea how much I’d like to.”
We talked a good deal more, but I felt myself growing restless as the night began to age and finally I stood and genuflected in his direction. “I apologise, but I really must leave… I have things I must attend to.”
“Will you be back tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow evening, perhaps…Farewell and manage some sleep.”
I did see him the next evening and sometime after until my presence there pushed too long and I was forced to move on, but it was a wonderful break in the monotony of solitude to have a friend who wasn’t affected with my sort of condition or partially human. That isn’t meant as offensive to anyone who is, don’t get me wrong. It’s wonderful to have friends who I can visit again after a century or so has past and expect them to be there.
Oddly enough, now I have plenty of comrades and most of them human, probably due to that interesting dome contraption which so graciously keeps out the sunlight. Thinking about this wonderfully talented group pulled me out of my reverie and placed me dutifully back into the present where I glanced up in time to see Carter Wyndham waving me down, flanked by Reilly Leffer whose tail had somehow managed to escape out the rim of his pants. I blushed as much as my pale complexion could manage in spite of myself as I approached Carter, taking his arm as he gave me one of his odd smiles while simultaneously ignoring a disgusted face from Reilly. Then the three of us walked together back into the city, heading toward home.